Residential Remedy – the ‘new face’ of medical facilities


A demanding brief within a difficult surrounding — that ’s the task that Leighs Construction Ltd, along with Wilson & Hill Architects Ltd, Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers, Pedersen Read Ltd, Powell Fenwick Consultants and The Health Planner took on when creating a new-look medical facility in the heart of suburbia.

Judges were in awe of the design, qualit y and finish of the building, and awarded the project a Gold Award and the winner of the Health Category at the 2015 New Zealand Commercial Project Awards.

“It is a carefully considered architectural design that sits in absolute harmony with the surrounding residential environment, proving that health facilities need not adhere to the somewhat clinical and cold designs of the past,” was what the judges had to say about this project.

Shoehorned within a leafy residential section of Merivale, Christchurch, the brief was to create a fully serviced, state-of-the-art eye surgery that would be in harmony with its residential surroundings.

Creative thinking was required to accommodate the services fit out, which included two operating theatres, a large pre-operative area, post-operative rooms, clean and dirty utility rooms, recovery spaces, reception, staff and office areas, all on TC3 land.

The resource consent for the build had already been lodged and approved before the site work took place. Landscape and layout were carefully considered on this design build project, with Leighs taking ownership of the full design and implementation to achieve the concept by dividing the structure into three elements.

The use of natural timber for the exterior cladding, and the decision to leave existing trees on the property, allowed the building to veer away from feeling like a commercial clinic and blend with the surrounding environment.

Alternative methods were also devised for the construction of the foundations, to reduce vibrations and disturbances to neighbouring properties.

Leighs Construction South Island operations manager Graeme Earl says the project was achieved to an exceptionally high standard, and the team was very pleased with the result. “It has exceeded everyone’s expectations. We had a great team of professional consultants and good leadership that pulled us through this challenging project,” Mr Earl says.

Christchurch Eye Surgery is co-owned by nine surgeons, and is now one of the largest private eye surgeries in the South Island. “The biggest benefit to Canterbury is that this building enables nine surgeons to work out of one facility, removing the need for duplication and maximising their time. 

They have access to some of the best and most expensive high-tech operating facilities around,” Mr Earl says.

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